Carles Puyol has apologised for making a "clumsy joke" in response to Iker Casillas' now deleted tweet.
Former Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper Casillas had appeared to come out as gay in the social media post before it was deleted shortly afterwards. In the tweet, the 41-year-old wrote in Spanish: "I hope you respect me, I'm gay." Puyol then responded to the post by commenting underneath: "It's time to tell our story, Iker."
However, Puyol has now issued an apology to his followers after Casillas had claimed the tweet came about as a result of his account being targeted by hackers.
READ MORE: Iker Casillas blames 'hacked account' and apologises to LGBT community for tweet
Writing on Twitter, Puyol said: “I have made a mistake. Sorry for a clumsy joke with no bad intentions and totally out of place. I understand that it may have hurt sensitivities. All my respect and support for the LGTBIQA+ community.”
Casillas had claimed in a follow up post after the tweet had been deleted that he had been hacked, writing: "Hacked account. Luckily everything in order. Apologies to all my followers. And of course, more apologies to the LGBT community."
Puyol and Casillas played together 87 times for the Spanish national team and were both members of the sides which won the European Championships in 2008 and the World Cup two years later. Casillas won the Euros a second time in 2012.
Prior to hanging up his boots in 2014, Puyol spent his entire club career playing for Barcelona, making a total of 593 first team appearances after joining Barca at the age of 17.
He also won 23 major trophies during his time with Barcelona, including three Champions Leagues and six Spanish league titles.
After retiring, Puyol briefly remained at the club in a behind the scenes role, working as an executive assistant before stepping down from the position in 2015.
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